News & Views

The Florida Conference is dedicated to bringing you news stories about United Methodists here and beyond. Whether the news is about the global church or the church on the corner, look for it here. You’ll also find thought-provoking commentaries and opportunities for education and fellowship.

In addition, News & Views is pleased to bring you an interactive Bible crossword puzzle, with new puzzles available weekly. Click here to access this week's crossword puzzle. Have a story to share? Email or click here to use our convenient “Submit a story” form.

Image courtesy of Copyright © by Cliff Leitch.

October 24, 2019

Irma recovery: homes to be dedicated in Spanish

The Florida Conference will dedicate three rebuilt homes—one in LaBelle and two in Clewiston—with two of the ceremonies conducted completely in Spanish, a first.

September 06, 2019

Helping Hurricane Dorian survivors

Many of you and your congregants have been asking how you can help the Bahamas after the devastation of Hurricane Dorian. A Hurricane Dorian fact sheet was sent to your districts Thursday to update them on current activities in the Bahamas and how we, as The United Methodist Church, are responding—both now and over the next few months.

August 30, 2019

Bishop Carter encourages offering to UMCOR

Bishop Carter encourages reception of an offering for the United Methodist Committee on Relief in the midst and aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

August 29, 2019

Resources for churches responding to Hurricane Dorian

In addition to our partners at Johns Eastern, we have engaged the Aon Global Rapid Response team to aid in the timely processing of our claims. The Aon Rapid Response experts will arrive at the hardest hit areas within 48-72 hours after landfall of the storm.

May 31, 2019

Local partnerships boost Hurricane Maria recovery

As many as 3,000 people lost their lives in Puerto Rico—a number that is believed to be severely under-reported in the early days of the aftermath. The island, already in economic distress before the storm, still struggles with recovery.

May 21, 2019

It’s hurricane preparedness season, again

Colorado State University’s Department of Atmospheric Science expects as many as 12 named storms with five or more becoming full-fledged hurricanes. They predict that at least two will become major hurricanes with wind levels reaching Category 3 or stronger.

May 09, 2019

Miami Lakes youth mission: the Holy Spirit in action

“I have been on a lot of mission trips,’’ said Rev. Stuart Bodin, pastor of Miami Lakes UMC. “But I’ve never had a better experience than this one. It was remarkable to feel the Holy Spirit in action and experience that level of faith and love.’’

May 07, 2019

‘Volunteer Village’ eases volunteer housing crunch in Keys

The housing for disaster recovery volunteers was created by the Monroe County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG), an organization founded in February of last year and consisting of faith-based organizations, including the Conference, non-profits, businesses and government agencies.

March 08, 2019

UMCOR Sunday, March 31, supports disaster response

For more than 50 years, United Methodist congregations have been taking part in a special UMCOR Sunday offering, laying the foundation for UMCOR’s ministry of relief and hope.

January 23, 2019

Florida churches raise over $1.5 million for Michael relief

Inspired by a matching funds challenge of $500,000 from First UMC Ormond Beach, Florida Conference churches raised over $1 million for Hurricane Michael relief for the Alabama West Florida Conference. A total of $1,533,096 was donated to their recovery.

January 02, 2019

One year in: Hurricane Irma recovery needs volunteers

The number of volunteers dropped off significantly after attention shifted to areas in the Carolinas hit by Florence, then to the Panhandle, devastated this summer by Michael.

November 19, 2018

Florida focuses on Hurricane Michael for Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27

The Florida Conference is celebrating GivingTuesday, Nov. 27, this year by asking donors to contribute to the Hurricane Michael matching fund. Click here to donate online.

October 17, 2018

Gift will match up to $500,000 in Hurricane Michael donations

The people of the First United Methodist Church of Ormond Beach have challenged the Florida Annual Conference to help our sisters and brothers in the panhandle through a matching gift up to the amount of $500,000.

October 12, 2018

Hurricane Michael special collection

We know all too well the shock and helpless feeling hurricane survivors are left with when the storms pass. After a weather event of this magnitude, there are many ways to help but monetary donations are crucial in the immediate aftermath

October 11, 2018

Conference ready to help survivors get back on their feet

Before Hurricane Michael slammed into Panama City and the Florida Panhandle and left jaw-dropping carnage in its wake, The United Methodist Church was already planning how best to serve victims of the ferocious Category 4 storm.

October 10, 2018

Exercise caution in Hurricane Michael aftermath

Be smart and be safe. Most serious injuries and death occur after the storm has passed. As you check your home and check on neighbors, pay attention to your surroundings, looking for downed power lines, snakes, red ant mounds (which travel in flood waters) and other hazardous debris the storm may bring. Photo courtesy Rev. Wayne Wiatt.

September 14, 2018

Wait, pray, give as Hurricane Florence batters coast

Your prayers and gifts to UMCOR are the best possible resources to share before, during and after Florence makes landfall.  We know firsthand the difference those gifts can make, as we first responded in the aftermath and then began the long road of recovery–a road we are still traveling today!

September 05, 2018

Churches, Family Promise battle Central Florida homelessness

In the shadow of Walt Disney World, which calls itself the happiest place on Earth, there is another, far-different story taking place.

August 02, 2018

Kindness of neighbors: Hurricane recovery in Pahokee

Florida communities devastated by Hurricane Irma are not alone thanks to connections of volunteers established by Florida Restores.

July 26, 2018

'Hands and feet of Jesus' tackle Irma damage

Seven months after Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys last September, the Rev. Terri Hill, pastor at Key West United Methodist Church, reflected on how the world embraced her small community.

July 05, 2018

Irma campus-based recovery team ‘loves out loud’

Many schools refer to mission trips as “alternative spring breaks.” The Virginia Tech campus minister says for the Wesley Foundation “it's not an alternative. It's just what they do.”

June 21, 2018

Installing new doors for a hurricane-damaged church

In April, a team of skilled volunteers from First United Methodist Church in Land O'Lakes responded to disaster recovery needs in the Florida Keys. The team brought tools and construction know-how to Big Pine Key UMC where they installed new doors in the church facilities.

June 18, 2018

Where there is Irma misery, there is ministry opportunity

Case managers help survivors figure out where they are, what recovery looks like for them, walk them through the process and help them identify and access resources.

June 14, 2018

UM ARMY is transforming for young adults on mission

Working with elderly, low-income and disabled homeowners in Gulfport, this June young adults will be painting, doing minor floor repairs, working on siding and debris cleanup, among other things.

June 04, 2018

Prepare for the 2018 hurricane season

Assess your church’s readiness. Trim tree limbs, sandbag doors, take an inventory of property and check insurance coverage, especially the hurricane deductible. If possible, put aside funds to cover damage that isn’t covered by insurance.

May 23, 2018

Picture this! Disaster recovery in action

In these photos, submitted by disaster recovery construction coordinator Hank Lunsford, a spirit of generosity is seen in volunteer teams hailing from across the country as they work hard to put roofs back over people's heads.

May 17, 2018

Displaced Maria survivors continue to struggle

Maria, one of the worst Atlantic storms of the last century, left many Puerto Rican families with little or no possessions. Some still suffer from post-traumatic stress, and all are struggling to figure out their futures.

May 09, 2018

Churches play vital role in Irma recovery

More than seven months into recovery, area churches and established businesses continue to play important roles they adopted in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

April 26, 2018

Despite Irma, the cross shines brightly from San Marco's steeple

While still in the throes of major renovations to their hurricane-damaged church property, this Jacksonville church continued finding ways to serve the surrounding community.

April 25, 2018

AmeriCorps alleviates burden from Hurricane Irma

The AmeriCorps Tribal CCC (Civilian Community Corps) Program of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in California spent 17 days helping those still dealing with effects from Hurricane Irma. The team worked in Everglades City, 31 miles southeast of Marco Island in Big Cypress National Preserve.

April 06, 2018

Indiana team helps Immokalee Irma survivors

Mission teams that come to Immokalee volunteer to help some of the most disadvantaged survivors of Hurricane Irma. A team of young adults hailing from Indiana saw this devastation and was invigorated to offer help.

March 21, 2018

Methodist students detour spring vacations for Hurricane Irma recovery

United Methodist Students at Marshall University sacrificed their spring break for power tools and grout to help Big Pine Key recover from Hurricane Irma.

March 15, 2018

Disaster Recovery team is an answer to prayers

During spring and Christmas breaks when many of their classmates are enjoying recreational activities, young adults from campus ministries and others seeking a nontraditional holiday, come to Florida to do mission work.

March 09, 2018

Volunteer lands his dream job as Irma construction coordinator

It's not often that someone lands a dream job at age 76, but that's what happened to Lunsford when he started in the coordinator position on Dec. 26, 2017. “The first paycheck I got, I felt like it was sinful to take it,” he said. “I never dreamed that God would get me a job that I loved so much. I spend the whole day doing things for people who can't do for themselves.”

February 28, 2018

United Methodist Irma recovery work continues

Part two of a two-part series by Joey Butler of UMNS, reports on efforts to aid those trying to recover from Hurricane Irma across the state.

February 23, 2018

First Naples is welcoming home for Irma recovery teams

When mission teams “move in” at First Church, routines are disrupted, as church and self-help groups shift. But everyone willingly sacrifices, moving elsewhere on campus for a week or giving up amenities such as wi-fi.

February 14, 2018

Disaster recovery going where 'light no longer shining'

Nearly 50 new case managers, construction and volunteer coordinators and one chaplain were recently hired by the Florida Conference through the $1 million UMCOR grant for disaster recovery. The diverse group will help extend outreach efforts for continued long-term recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

February 02, 2018

Wisconsin volunteers repair hurricane-damaged home

Depending on the severity of damage and the stage of recovery, volunteers may be finishing work on a home after its owner moved back in. In this case, the family is living elsewhere, but they made several visits throughout the week to thank the Wisconsin team.

January 25, 2018

New York volunteers tackle Irma's destruction at Big Pine UMC

When Virgil Allmond returned nine days after the hurricane, he walked into the sanctuary and found water three-and-a-half feet deep. Constructed at a higher elevation, the church's dining hall and education building were under about two feet of water. Irma's brown waterline is visible on the exterior walls today, a reminder of the storm's impact.

January 18, 2018

Youth on a Mission team repairs Irma damage at Big Pine UMC

Youth on a Mission recovery team organizers knew from their connections that conditions in the Keys were worse than the media was portraying four months after Irma hit. After all, debris is still piled everywhere landfill-like near high-end, waterfront homes.

January 11, 2018

Mission team mends a hurricane-damaged roof

From start to finish, see how this Concord CARES Mission Team finished repairs to a ...

January 05, 2018

Irma devastation still widespread in Central Florida

“It's a few months after the storm and nobody sees it any more in the news and thinks it's all better,” Days said. “But there is so much work to be done.”

January 04, 2018

Puerto Rican relief receives help from Holston Conference

With many displaced Puerto Rican families coming to Orange and Osceola Counties following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a district disaster coordinator from the Holston Conference drove 600 miles to deliver school kits and supplies to First Kissimmee UMC.

December 22, 2017

Beyond Irma: Recovery continues for 2016 storms, too

The sheer size of Irma and the massive destruction it left behind in September can lead some to forget that current disaster recovery volunteer teams are actually working on helping survivors of three storms: 2016’s Hurricanes Hermine and Matthew and 2017’s Irma.

December 14, 2017

Irma volunteer coordinators: People are still suffering

Three months later, Irma's damage is not always obvious in some areas of the state. Key West International Airport re-opened less than two weeks after the storm, but the island community still looks like a disaster zone.

December 07, 2017

Connect's social media raises funds for hurricane relief

Nearly 700 young people came together at this fall's Connect retreats at Warren Willis Camp. Demonstrating that social media can be a force for good, students raised more than $14,000 for hurricane relief.

November 30, 2017

Irma recovery will need massive support of volunteers and donors

A photo essay showing the destruction Irma left behind in Key West underscores how massive the storm was and illustrates how large volumes of resources, including donations and volunteers, will be needed to help survivors and their communities recover and rebuild.

November 24, 2017

Donate to Irma Fund on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28

Support the disaster recovery efforts for the 2.6 million survivors of Hurricane Irma.

November 20, 2017

Florida holds first Spanish ERT workshop

As the Florida Conference continues to reach out to those facing recovery from the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria, an Early Response Training (ERT) for Spanish-speaking volunteers was held recently at FUMC Kissimmee.

November 17, 2017

Bishop Carter's Thanksgiving message: All can help with Irma restoration

The post-Irma journey toward restoration is just beginning. Bishop Carter asks that members of the Florida Conference offer themselves to be used by God in this great work, with our prayers, our financial gifts and our working hands. Please share these video messages with your congregation.

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The Florida Conference of The United Methodist Church

450 Martin L King Jr Ave
Lakeland, FL 33815

(863) 688-5563 or toll free (800) 282-8011